MaryJane, the 3 y/o who’d lived with an elderly lady who had to go into nursing, is just not coming along at all. My first strategy with rescues is to give them as much space and time as they need to come around to the idea that no one’s going to hurt them. She is just determined that I’m preparing for the next cat massacre. She stationed herself behind the post of the cat tree and as far as I could tell, never left except to eat and use the litter pan (and only when I wasn’t in the room). She hisses and spits when I walk anywhere near her… and that’s not paying attention to her, just doing other things. If I actually come near to her intentionally to talk to her, she’s ready to strike, and I do mean with claws extended.
After 2 weeks, I decided I had to switch tactics, primarily because her constant hissing and spitting was upsetting Levi, and when he started to hiss at me too, I moved her into the main bathroom, which I don’t use. It has a glassed-in standup shower, very roomy, so I put down “her” blanket that her former owner had sent along with her, in that, and left the glass door open a bit so she would have a little area she could feel secure, and I could go in and sit on the toilet lid and talk and read to her so she’d get used to me. Unfortunately, she eschewed the comfy blanket and cat tipi in the shower, and decided her safest place was behind the toilet. So of course, when I sat down so close to her, she just had a fit. I bought a Feliway diffuser and gave that a week to work. It didn’t. I also bought the spray, and that didn’t work either.
In the meantime, I was also quickly becoming crippled, because to get close to her enough to get her to allow me to pet her was taking extensive amounts of time sitting on the floor. And I’m disabled, with a very bad back and left knee that’s bone-on-bone. Also, I was getting tired of bleeding. So one day in sheer desperation, I grabbed a big bath towel from the closet and went in and tossed it over her and picked her up still in the towel, and kind of wrapped her in it so she couldn’t “get” me. And… she snuggled! I don’t mean she cowered down in the towel. I mean she snuggled into it. Sooo okay. After a few minutes of sitting on the toilet lid, I got up and walked into the living room, and she was fine with that. So I got a glass of tea and my kindle, all while holding her in one arm all swaddled like a baby, and went and sat in my recliner. We read a book. We watched a movie. After about 4 hours of this, I needed to move a bit, so I went and carefully placed her, still swaddled, back in the bathroom and got some more tea and changed into my jammies, since it was now about midnight. I went back into the bathroom just to see what would happen, and she was still there, inside the towel, looking up at me with these big, confused eyes, and it just about broke my heart. I decided then and there she wasn’t going back in the bathroom again, I’d let her have the run of the house and see how that worked. So I picked her up again and we went out and read some more in the recliner. Now all this time, she let me pet her head and neck. And the last few hours, I wasn’t even *holding* her.. I mean, she was in my arms, but I’d loosened the towel around her, and wasn’t restraining her in anyway, and she never made a single move to get down. In fact, at one time she kind of shoved her head up under my chin and let it rest there. Mostly she seemed to snooze, and once in awhile she’d kind of startle, and hiss and try to strike with her claws. I’d toss a corner of the towel over her paws, and darned if she didn’t settle right back down. Then I went to bed about 3 or 4 am, and lay her on the bed beside me all cuddled up in her towel. When I woke up she was under the bed. And she never came out. For a week <sigh> Which was clearly a mistake to give her the run of the house, because when finally I chased her out and put her back in the bathroom, then she hissed and spat with lots more active feeling to it, the instant I just opened the bathroom door.
So that brings us up to current. After giving her a few days back in the bathroom to settle down, last night I did my thing with the towel again, and she cuddled right in, and we watched Solace with Anthony Hopkins and an old favorite, Walter and Henry, with John Larroquette as a single dad ex-hippy who has a psychotic break and leaves his 12 y/o son struggling to stay out of the clutches of social services and get his dad out of the hospital. James Coburn plays the estranged grandfather. Anyway, so we had a good 3-4 hours of cuddling and then I put her back in the bathroom. When I walked in again 10 minutes later, she hissed and spit at me.
But it’s absolutely clear she loves to be swaddled and held (and how weird is that, for a cat???), and she does like to be petted. Once I can get hold of her. So the current plan is to go in 3 times a day and toss the towel over her and cuddle her for awhile each time. I’m not usually a TV watcher, so I’m going to have to start going through my shelves of DVD’s and get out movies to watch. Obviously it won’t work to be holding her and be on here, and I’ve made myself soul-sick trying to find new GOOD writers on Kindle Unlimited and have re-read all my old favorites just since Christmas. So… it’s gotta be movies.
Anyway, that’s the plan for now. Since this was so long, I’m writing a separate blog post for Levi, here.